reverb 11: beauty.

disclaimer #1: i fear that my reverb writing isn’t very…well…good. i’m not inspired daily – or i am, but i am inspired in little snippets that just appear in my brain that 75% of the time, i forget to transcribe and they flitter away in short order. i am rarely inspired to pump out a whole blog post. also, i am having a whole lot of year reflection happening between reverb and another group i’m participating in (stratejoy’s joy council) so i feel kind of repetitious. so – my apologies.

disclaimer #2: i can’t pick one of anything. i fret and fret about picking the “best” or the “most x” or the “perfect” one and then i never actually choose because i can’t ensure these things. so, any prompt that asks me to pick one of anything, i’m not going to do that, to save myself a whole lot of mind stress (see? progress! growth! abandoning rules for the sake of sanity!). i shall give you a smattering and you shall be pleased.

prompt: describe a moment of beauty that you witnessed this year.

i am watching fish swim. i am swimming in the caribbean sea and i have a snorkel and mask on and i am watching beautiful tropical fish swim in their natural habitat. i stay afloat for hours, reaching out to them, trying to find new and more populated spots around the jetty. but mostly, i am just entranced and amazed by these bright colored little animals, by this entire world that exists under the ocean.

i am sitting on the grass in union park. for my coworker’s birthday i’ve suggested we gather up a group and visit the wafels and dinges truck after work. we do, and we sit, and we share with each other as real people aside from our daily responsibilities to our organization and each other. we are all friendly, kind, interesting, and it is a lovely summer evening.

i am at sushi lounge and it is your birthday weekend, just two weeks after mine. you’ve gathered your friends and your boyfriend here and we have a night of celebration ahead of us. i am so happy and proud to be your friend, to be a part of this whole weekend you put together. i am happy to celebrate YOU. plus, the sushi and plum wine are really delicious.

we are riding bicycles around a strange town on the north shore of long island and i’m convinced we can find a beach. we stop and i consult the almighty google maps, and sure enough, beach we find. it’s not a public beach and we’re likely breaking the law – there isn’t much of a shore. i find a long stretch of wood that reaches into the water – the north shore is full of rocky, angry beaches and even though it’s a sound the waves break like it isn’t. i walk out as far as i can until the waves are crashing over my shins and threatening my thighs. i stare out for as long as i can.

 

reverb 11: time

cutting this one in close to the edge. have i mentioned that it’s hard to write every day? because it is.

i actually want to write about the disappointment prompt, but i can’t in the public sphere. suffice to say, my job is amazing and i love it, and i’m so grateful for that.

prompt: how did you fill your time this year? are you happy with it? would you change it?

mostly, i worked. and ever since being hired by a wonderful nonprofit org in april, nearly every day of that has been a joy. i learn a lot that i’m really interested in at my job and i’m finally happy with the path i’m on.

big announcement: next semester i’m entering a web development intensive program at nyu. by april or may, i will be able to BUILD INTERNETS.

outside of working:

the truth is, i did a lot of arguing this year. i’ve done a lot of crying. i’ve done a lot of trying to figure it out, and a lot of confusion. these parts, they haven’t been pretty. part of my goal for next year is to nail down a solid plan to reduce this. drastically.

i did a lot of fretting. that’s just my nature. although, yes, i know i need to chill out some. working on it.

i began journaling, and taking some time to focus on myself. this work has been – transformative, and inspirational.

i baked. a lot. and attempted to cook most nights of the week. these things calm me.

it’s been a long week and full of migraines and frustration. i’ll be back in top reverb form before the weekend is out. swearsies.

reverb 11: learned.

today i’m getting my prompt from weverb. you can find a running list of people who are posting prompts over at geekinhard.

prompt: what lesson did you learn in 2011 from the school of life?

i learned an astonishing amount this year. none of it came from a classroom. (next year, it will) i’m going to take a listy format for this one…so i’ve learned that:

work can be fun – there are truly supportive and amazing work environements that will foster growth and positivity.

relationships are hard work. there are no absolutes. everything is a choice.

i can believe in my own future. there are no bars in front of me, i am not trapped. i can take steps to more, just like anyone else.

i am not less than. i am enough. i am more than enough.

i am deserving of close relationships and they will come back into my life. i am evolving, always. i am not a block of ice.

i have dreams. i should cultivate them.

i have passions. i should find and follow them.

i have talent. i should use it.

i have not lost myself. that is probably the most important thing that sunk in.

what have you learned? feel free to link me to your own posts in the comments, for this prompt or any others. i am so loving the reverb community – i came in late last year and didn’t get as integrated as i liked. this year, i’m diving in.

money anorexia.

that subject probably doesn’t seem like it makes a ton of sense.

(also, please forgive what may appear to be weird spacing. i am trying to adopt the more net-accepted “one space between sentences” style and it’s super unnatural to me, but it’s what they use at work and i keep messing up copy there. hard habit to acquire, so if some sentences have one space between them, and some two, that’s why)

let me explain.

i am really nervous about money, and having enough of it. i love saving. i love a deal. i love being smart about finances.  i contribute to my retirement plan and have since i was 22. i have a regular transfer set up to my savings account, and i try my damndest not to touch it. my upcoming vacation to jamaica is the first real vacation i will be taking in my adult life, and it took a lot to convince myself that it is a worthwhile move.  fiscal responsibility is extraordinarily important to me, personally.

(this comes from a rampant and intense desire as a young adult to be independent and self-sufficient, and a keen understanding that money is the key to such things.  also, from having a bunch of it stolen from me in my early 20s – approximately 6-7 thousand dollars.)

in the interest of accomplishing my goals of saving and living very much inside my means (which are by no means luxurious – i AM a nonprofit employee after all, and a junior one), i very rarely indulge. i do not buy myself new clothes very often, or beauty products. anything i can take care of at home instead of purchasing, i try to – i do my own nails, tweeze my own eyebrows, fix my own clothes (if i can). i’m not amazing about everything – i buy breakfast and lunch during the week instead of making my own usually, which is a money suck, i am a light smoker, also a money suck. nobody’s perfect, but i try to keep my indulgences to a minimum.

this doesn’t mean i’m not human and i don’t see shit i want ALL THE TIME. consumerism is obviously rampant, and it’s really difficult to break the belief that your life will just have some magic sparkle dust sprinkled on it if you just have THAT ONE THING. i’m usually pretty good at suppressing my desires, or at the very least finagling a good deal (i.e. last week i wanted a bunch of nail polish, i bought it on ebay, saving approx. $2 per bottle.  win!).

but here is the problem.  these bouts of restriction inevitably lead to some sort of loss of control and i buy way too many things.  my version of way too many things is perhaps different than your average person’s, but hey, remember what i said up there, much of my sanity depends on having a large rainy day (or lose my job, or must find new apartment, or insert emergency here) fund. so this week i have purchased two dresses and a 6-color essie nail polish collection and i want SO MANY THINGS. i am on some sort of spending binge, though i am trying really hard to stop wanting everything and pound into my head that things do not equal fulfillment or happiness.

(it probably does not help that i have had a really rough week emotionally, either).

i think a better plan would probably be to allow myself one small treat every paycheck, and i get paid monthly.  as in, one dress.  or one beauty product. perhaps this would solve the restriction/binge cycle i inevitably get myself into…

anyone else have odd/strange/troublesome spending habits?

half filled cabinets.

so i’m leaving this place.

my apartment, i mean.  a little less than two weeks, and i live somewhere else.

i find it amazing and fascinating and slightly disturbing, the tendency we have to attach to places.  places which probably won’t be in our life for very long, places which go on without us.  how we tie the concept of home to some specific set of walls.

i’m busy packing and unpacking and assembling ikea furniture (jesus h, am i sore), and through it all, none of it is really sinking in.  i’m not going to live here anymore.  this bed won’t be mine anymore.  i will not ever cook on that stove again.  this place will no longer be a part of my world, at all.  and it’s been such an integral one for the past year and change.

i am unfond of the adjustment period required for a new home.  of how long it takes to feel like yours, to feel comfortable.  we slept in our new place last night, and it wasn’t a peaceful sleep (it also had no sheets or pillows.  i keeps it classy).  i walk around and it feels like i’m in a really nice hotel that i decorated myself.  i know it’ll be that way for a while, i’m prepared for that strangeness.

there’s also the knowledge that there is no place that is solely mine anymore.  there is no retreat, there is nowhere to go when i demand alone-ness.  that will be an adjustment – i’ve come to value my solitary time to an immense degree.  my happiest times are with the bouncer, for sure, but there are many nights i turn my key in my door and a wave of relief and gratitude wash over me, knowing that i can be silent and alone and just go about my business for the rest of the night.  this is changing.  my world is changing.

again.

so here goes.

 

the small things i remember. perhaps volume one.

the smell of dance class, gymnastics, after school activities that required paraphernalia, an extra bag. the smell of a leotard, of acrylic, of something false. a very small seed of an aspiration that would not germinate. the smell of equipment – plastic and other materials and something professional, athletic, something i wasn’t but tried to be. synthetic. all so synthetic.

over the air

in analog, the snow will cause ghosts.
in digital, this is loss of data.

in that time it was just a gray reflection that wandered during the winter, a girl who didn’t know herself at all, but maybe knew herself better than she ever would, swinging from a tree in the middle of the night and losing herself in the enormity of stars.  it was winter when her heart broke, winter when her resolve grew, and the snow nourished her, almost.

she did not require many nutrients, obviously.

there was no greater peace for her than when the world was covered.  she never quite figured how the whys and whats of it, but called herself a winter girl, and held snow in her mind as comfort.  everything was deep and real and true, and her blood ran thick and hot when she was cut.  this was a blessing.

we have moved to the era of pixels and whether or not the ghosts come around, well, who is to say?  pixels don’t do fading well, up close, or transparency.  you might just as easily confuse them for something very very different.  but that’s alright, we say, you are an individual, you see things how you want to, honey.  she lives in digital now, there is really no choice in the matter, but – well, we cannot be what we are not.  she is a girl of ghosts in the snow, and her imprint under fluorescent reflection is dim and faded.  you might think the ghosts were as well, but no.  they shined in some ethereal way in the night snow, and so did she.  here though, she is off and slightly jerky, nothing quite fits.  it is a rare moment when all of the pieces line up.

she reminds herself that we operate in eras, and that one day, perhaps even one day soon, we will return to the old ways.
maybe one day soon.

inspired by my research on whether or not the weather is messing up my over the air channel receiver, my teenagerhood, neil gaiman’s american gods, which you should really read, and the general sense of “out of place” that is so easy to feel in this world.

glass cubes.

the stubs of the candles, i say to myself. memorialize this.

it has been four or five or maybe even six rooms that i have moved these tiny glass cubes with these miniaturized tapers in. they were pink – i don’t even like pink, but i looked on them fondly, always. i moved them, and dusted around them, and kept them in places of honor, visible places. these are tokens from my friends, i said.

i am still recovering from the heartbreak. it takes so much longer to heal when the damage was pervasive, over time, and when, well, when you ignored it for so long.

when i can breathe in and feel it, when i can believe in something, it feels like a moment of fairy tale magic.

these are tokens from my friends. they gave them to me because i envied their trinkets, because i always had trouble picking out things for myself. because i couldn’t find the perfect thing. because i couldn’t know what my symbols were, because i never took the time to know myself. i only ever focused on picking things about myself to hate, and fighting battles.

i devoted everything i was to the war. and, as wars do, it erased most of me, by its bitter, driving end. i judged that end much too soon. i was a front line fighter – i was never in intelligence.

these are from my friends. they wanted me to know that i was worth special things too. that i deserved something beautiful. they said they wanted to help me to know myself. they gave me these tiny glass candle holders, smaller than ice cubes, and i have taken them everywhere. when one of the small candles broke, i heated it with a lighter, working the wax back together with my fingers, so it would remain. i could not lose something that was so special. there are some small incense holders, and a handmade dream catcher. there are colors i have always been drawn to, even if i never deciphered why.

here, they said. have these things. you are loved. you are beautiful. honor yourself.

now, i am sitting here alone. that part is ok – it’s a restful night, and i’m grateful for it. i’m glad that i do not have to rise early tomorrow, and i am luxuriating in doing whatever i wish. i got a little restless, and decided to dust, and came across these trinkets. still occupying a place of honor, still grouped with the things i love. the givers of these gifts have gone, have changed, have turned on me. her words now are a very faint echo. his handwriting merely causes me to cock my head slightly and think how a year can change so much.

i wish i could say i came away whole, and unscathed. i wish i were that strong, truly. much of me is shattered, pockmarked, made so ugly by the bombs and acid we threw back and forth. finally, i think, i see the end result of this ten year saga.

i am smaller, now. i am much more easily hurt. i am guarded, and prickly. i lost the people i loved.

i am telling the nerves in my arm, ordering my finger bones to release their grasp on these ashes, to stop marveling and mourning their dark dust. i am trying, every day, to release them, this, this love i lost.

but the words are there forever, once they are said. you are loved. you are beautiful. honor yourself. these, i will keep.